Rebuild NZ before re-opening
Liam Dann says in his column (May 17) "For all the brave optimism about New Zealand's economic recovery, it is devastating to think of the opportunity that has been lost".
And goes on to say "We were on the cusp of seriously addressing some social inequalities and some major shortfalls in infrastructure and housing".
He lists tourism and aviation among the areas where job loss will be — as we all know — massive. He then suggests major economic input into things like immigration, film and TV productions and international students, which could become our future economic saviours.
But New Zealand has a massive backlog on maintenance and rebuilding to be done on water and wastewater systems, roading and rail, public health, state housing, and rethinking how agriculture and horticulture can be conducted without any increased environmental negatives. We can see there is a major amount of work to be done in the conservation arena — to ensure our forests, rivers, mountains and seas stop being contaminated and damaged.
The coming years could be a major opportunity for New Zealand — to turn around the damage of the neo-liberal economic theories of the past, to recover the natural values of our lands and environments, and to rebuild our communities so a share of the pie is not just limited to the elite "1 per cent".
Let us not go back to the old neo-lib way of working, let us look forward instead and plan to look after ourselves, our lands, our country in the best possible way — by rebuilding, protecting and enhancing our varying environments.
Let us do all of these things before we start to open up our country again to the open slather of the global neo-liberal economics.
Jenny Kirk, Whangārei.
Schools need water
We have weathered the pandemic only to hit a serious water shortage.
Our children have been in lockdown and most missed their friends. Now it seems they are facing further disruption to their school attendance.
Schools cannot operate without water. Students are expected to hand sanitise going into class and when they leave class. They must flush the toilet and wash their hands with soap and water after the toilet.
Come on Mayor Phil Goff, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and all the other Auckland-based politicians and iwi, do something about the ridiculous law regarding water from the Waikato. The water from the river should be available in times of drought and we have the most serious drought recorded in Auckland, the largest centre of the population in New Zealand according to information in the media.
Right now, water that could be replenishing Auckland's supply is going into the sea. Please get rid of this ridiculous law, let the water flow through our taps and keep our kids at school.
Shirley-Ann McCrystal, Ōrākei.
Desalination the key
The shortage of water in Auckland will only get worse and the only thing to do is bring water from the ocean.
Don't muck around, build a desalination plant as Perth has done. It may be expensive but the ratepayers will pay for it. Otherwise come summer and you will have very little water.
Gary Stewart, Foxton Beach.
It is striking that some people continue to think the relatively low number of New Zealand cases tells us our emphatic response to Covid-19 was unnecessary. This is like arguing the sea wall was a waste of money because we haven't had a flood since we built it.
Rowan Hill, Mt Eden.
Save lives first
Some are blaming the Government for introducing the stay-at-home order. What the Government did was the correct method. The economy of a country can go down but recover later. But if a life is lost it cannot be recovered.
The Government wanted to save lives to recover the economy later, that is why we had only 21 deaths when other countries have over 1000. We recovered within five weeks but other countries are extending the curfew for over seven weeks.
Mano Manoharan, Hamilton.
Tax cut hypocrisy
How hypocritical of Paul Goldsmith to be saying that "helicopter" payments are an insult to the intelligence of New Zealanders considering the National Party's modus operandi is to offer tax bribes (oops! cuts) at every election.
R Howell, Ōnehunga.
Let us spray, AT
Here's a tip for Auckland Transport: arm your parking patrol officers with disinfectant spray to patrol playgrounds.
Brent Cottle, St Heliers.
More in hospital
David Stewart (Herald, May 16) needs to notice that the hospitalisation rate in Australia is significantly higher than ours. This suggests their cases per head of population are somewhat under-reported.
They also started their Covid- journey a month before us, so they should be well ahead of us in their control of the virus.
Judy Lawry, Golflands.
We read that double shifts to speed up the $4.5 billion City Rail Link project are being introduced with shifts operating from 6am until 10pm.
Why wasn't this happening before? The unnecessary inconvenience to traffic and pedestrians and the economic costs to retailers is unbelievable.
Gillian Dance, Mt Albert.
A major issue for world leaders in battling the pandemic is the need to balance the needs of health and the economy.
The former is the goal to contain the number catching Covid-19. The latter is to provide the fiscal stimulus to allow people to earn an income.
In both, NZ stands tall when measured against the rest of the world. Sure, a criticism might be levied that NZ Government action ( such as closing of the borders) was a little late. But where are we now ? A measuring stick of containment success is the rate of virus reproduction. A transmission rate of 1 means on average, each infected person will infect one other with whom they come into contact . Above 1, each contagious person can infect more than one other person.
During the initial outbreak in Wuhan the reproduction rate was 2.5. Last week NZ's rate was 0.4.
On economic statistics, much weight has been given to our soaring debt against our gross domestic product (from just under 20 per cent pre-Covid to a predicted 54 per cent from the stimulus provided with additional government borrowing).
Our pre-Covid rates (19.7 per cent) compares to Australia's 43 per cent, Germany's 62 per cent, the US' 80 per cent, UK's 86 per cent and Japan's 136 per cent. Given similar so-called "money printing" by the likes of Australia, UK and US, consider the resulting increase in their debt ratio.
All in all, the PM and the director general of health have been pragmatic when considering NZ health. Grant Robertson has been responsible and conservative in dealing with the economy.
Des Trigg, Rothesay Bay.
Desires hurt planet
The latest buzz phrase around town is "follow the science". It's used whenever climate change is discussed. Apparently science is the great saviour of our planet.
However, the planet is in a dire position due to ... science. All those products, materials, oils, chemicals and weapons are products of science. Therefore science is only part of the answer.
As long as humans want more and more then there is no true answer to the climate change issue.
Mark Lewis-Wilson, Mangonui.
The first people to be pulled up for wasting water are Watercare. I informed them of a leak about five weeks ago and it has not been attended to. This leak is on a road next to a park.
Dennis Manson, Bayswater.
Take a bow, Kiwis
In "No time for a trial run", (NZ Herald, May 16) Matt Nippert says early health advice, NZ's geographical isolation, swift decision-making and good fortune gave NZ an unexpected victory over Covid-19.
I would add great leadership, and the best yellow-and-white graphics ever, as helping guide the victory.
How did five million of us get a gold medal in pandemic fighting? Was it the way we treasured our elderly as taonga and refused to abandon them to the fallacy of herd immunity? Was it the way our kaumātua have kept the devastation of the Spanish flu alive through our rich history of story-telling, making the consequences of inaction more real today?
Was it our culture of kōrero that helped us make the decision together to look after each other by acting as one, for all? Or was it being kind, more often, to more people? However it happened — happy to take the win.
Lori Dale, Ōpōtiki.